Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and The Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) have announced a $12 million investment to support expanded programming and improved facilities for career and technical education at Charles A. Prosser Career Academy.
As part of the district’s nearly $1 billion capital budget, the investment at Prosser includes a new CTE wing to support Chicago Builds, a two-year training program in the building trades for 11th and 12th grade students who are interested in pursuing a career in the building trades after high school graduation.
“Prosser will soon serve as a national model for specialized trade schools and showcase what our students can accomplish when given the opportunity to succeed,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “By infusing our schools with strong partnerships like these, the future is brighter not only for our students but for employers across the city. I want to thank the Chicago Federation of Labor and all of our industry partners who are helping Chicago students to gain the skills necessary to access a 21st century career.”
The initiative follows the establishment in 2016 of comprehensive citywide construction trades program at Dunbar Career Academy High School to prepare students for careers in general construction; carpentry; heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC); welding; and electricity.
“While college remains the North Star, we have a responsibility to prepare our students for success beyond high school in multiple pathways and providing career programming today will help them build the skills necessary for the jobs of tomorrow,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Today’s investment supports the district’s Learn.Plan.Succeed. initiative and helps prepare students for the opportunities of the future.”
The CTE programs at Prosser will be modernized to align with the CFL and industry training partners. Labor partners will provide technical assistance to students and teachers to ensure programs align with industry standards and stay current to industry trends.
“For years, the education system in our country has deconstructed the relationship between our students, teachers and vocational trades,” CFL president Bob Reiter said in a statement.
“Unions under the CFL’s umbrella are proud to be partners in our schools to strengthen the pipeline to good union jobs and grateful for the Mayor’s commitment and investments in vocational training. Today’s investment is another important step to prepare Chicago’s students for the opportunities that present themselves in the service industries, manufacturing and the construction trades.
“By combining the skills of the union trades and the passion of our union teachers, Chicago’s young men and women who complete this program will gain life-changing skills that will lead to greater opportunities after graduation, including access to good, union jobs.”
Construction-related program partners include:
Electrical/Alternative Energy Program: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134; and Carpentry/Construction Trades Program: Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA); Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters; Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO). Partnerships will also be named for the Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Program.
Prosser students will have access to opportunities in pre-apprenticeship programs and unique paid internships with industry partners in chosen career paths. Students will also have the opportunity to earn dual credits through the City College of Chicago partnership.
More than 90 percent of Prosser students in 2018 graduated with at least one early college and career credential. This unprecedented national model will provide Chicago’s students greater choice in career paths and training that will set them on a path to the middle class.